It’s tempting to assume that anyone can interview potential employees and, with a few tips, accurately assess them. Tempting, but not true. Great interviewers are made, not born. Interviewing is a skill; one that requires more than the ability to fact check a resume. A good interviewer will know what they are looking for, know how to recognize those skills and traits, and know how to ask the right questions to get the answers they need.
It’s also tempting to assume that repetition will make someone a better interviewer. This is only true if they have a sound foundation to build upon; otherwise, they simply continue to replicate bad habits.
To make someone a truly effective interviewer, the surest path begins with interview skills training.
First, let’s look at what traits you need in order to be a great interviewer:
- Willingness to do Preparation and Research - Preparation is key when it comes to being a great interviewer. The ability to research and identify exactly what is needed from the new staff member and, what key requirements will need to be met, then have the right questions prepared in order to assess each candidate against these requirements, can make all the difference.
- The Ability to Make Others Comfortable - If the mannerisms of an interviewer put others off straight away, it can turn out to be a disaster for all involved. A great interviewer needs to be able to put others at ease.
- Be Strong but Be Fair - An interviewer often needs to ask tough questions. If they’re worried about offending someone or being too persistent, it may be hard for them to ask the right questions and elicit the response they are looking for. Asking the hard questions in a fair manner will give the candidate the chance to show their true skills and character as it relates to what the position requires.
- To be Somewhat of a Sales Person - An interviewer is ideally selling your company to the right people. This means they must be able to express their feelings and knowledge of their company in a good light, without leaving any negative thoughts in the candidate’s mind. This is especially true when you’re interviewing A-level talent, who are interviewing you as much as you are them.
How to Find and Train Great Interviewers
As I said earlier, Great interviewers aren't born that way. Interview skills training can help anyone become a more effective interviewer. Here are some key elements to look for in a program:
- How to set targets – you can’t conduct an effective interview if you don’t know what you’re measuring the candidate against
- How to create and use relevant, role-specific behavioral interview questions
- How to properly probe when candidates don’t give you what you’re looking for right away
- How to link your reference checks to critical job behaviors
- Ethical and legal considerations
- How to create a system or process for consistent assessment
- Practical role playing
At the McQuaig Institute we offer our own full day interview skills training workshop. You can get more details here.